Re: OT Some thoughts on Bach's D-minor violin partita
- Mahiruha and Priyadarshan
and for for all other Bach fans and scholars, I would like to recommend the book The Cello Suites by Eric Siblin which I recently read.
It's a creative biography of both J.S. Bach and Pablo Casals. As many know, Sri Chinmoy met with Pablo Casals in 1972 or 73 (not sure about the date). After meditating together, Casals thanked Sri Chinmoy for one of the most beautiful experiences of his life (from memory - very very unofficial). He was in his nineties at the time and passed away a short time later.
The book is really interesting and follows the lives of both Bach and Casals and how they intersect through the Cello Suites. Prior to Pablo Casals, the Bach Cello Suites were considered a series of rather boring excercises. Casals was the first to perform them in concert and they have since become an integral part of the Cello repertoire.
If I had to pick a single recording for an extended stay on a desert island, it would be Pablo Casals playing the Bach Cello Suites.
- I like what Tejvan and Priyadarshan said about Bach. I referenced a striking instrumental piece of his, the second violin Partita in D-minor. I think Sri Chinmoy said that he finds "prayer-life" inside of Bach's music, and that Bach had a "spiritual background" (unofficial quotes). I find those observations interesting because even his most abstract instrumental pieces have an aura of devotion. He spent so much of his life writing sacred vocal music, that even his violin sonatas and cello suites sound like hymns and prayers to the Almighty Father.
In certain passages of the chaconne (the final movement of the Partita) I do hear "prayer-life" quite vividly. It sounds as if someone is suffering, emotionally or physically, and at the same time, is praying fervently to God for consolation and compassion. Maybe Bach wanted to express that the advent of pain can be a good reason to increase the intensity of our devotional practices. Sri Chinmoy often said we always have to see light in everything:
"O my physical pain,
I am all gratitude to you,
For you have intensified
-From Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration Plants (http://www.srichinmoylibrary.com/books/1169/96)
I also like the beautiful song that Sri Chinmoy wrote for Bach:
Bach, Bach, Bach, Bach!
O heart-piercing, soul-stirring melody,
You quenched the unquenched thirst of Eternity.
I agree wholeheartedly with Tejvan that the divine wealth of Bach's and Sri Chinmoy's music is inexhaustible.
- Hello fellow Bach lovers. I had to chime in on these most beloved unaccompanied cello suites by Bach.
I think I may have mentioned here before that I very much enjoyed playing these suites on the saxophone while studying in university.
Although obviously not written with a saxophone in mind, they suit the instrument beautifully as the tone coulour of the instrument is so warm and rich.
I tried to find recordings by some of the saxophone greats like Jean Marie Londeix, Marcel Mule, and Daniel Deffayet,but was unsuccessful, however I did manage to find a rather nice recording by a German saxophonist.
Nothing could ever beat Pablo Cassals, but I hope you enjoy listening to it.
I often wonder what Bach may have created for saxophone had it been invented in his time.
And don't even get me started on what Mozart might have done with a soprano saxophone! The possibilities are almost dizzying.
Yours in music,
- I remember seeing, with Sukhendu and Narayani, a video of Don Pablo Casals himself playing the Cello Suite No. 1...
Here is the link:
with gratitude, Kamalakanta
- If anyone is interested in video of Pablo Casals, the film 'A Cry for Peace' is a beautiful thing. It's not the absolute best production as far as documentary goes, but it does relate the life of Casals very well and includes long solo cello pieces. He was a life-long peace activist too.